The Fancy Life Planner And The Promise Of A Productive Life

by Phoebe Holmes
Originally Published: 
life planner organized mom
pixdeluxe / iStock

I tried to avoid it, but apparently I’m not immune to peer pressure. Well, I am when it comes to things like shots of tequila. But paper products? There lies my weakness.

I love paper products, office products, notebooks, and all their ilk. I may have shown my slightly obsessive side off to my husband once in The Container Store as I held up the sticky notes as big as my head while squealing with delight. It was only a matter of time before I gave in to the Erin Condren Cult of Life Planners.

I mean, what’s not to love? Cute designs, a reason to buy washi tape, markers? All with the promise from friends that it will change your life, that you will finally achieve organization, world peace, weight loss and a “My Kid Is on the Honor Roll” bumper sticker—all because you chose to plan your life.

I bought one. I caved. I gave in to the peer pressure. I found one of those suckers at Staples and spent way too much money on it. I then bought all the accessories—the markers, the divider, the stickers, the washi tape. I checked out Pinterest for ideas on how to use this magical life-changing unicorn. I thought about what colors I would use for the many people in my family, wrote it out, then instantly forgot who was what color and wrote all of my things in my daughter’s assigned color.

I went out and bought a white out pen. Then I decided it was easier to just forget the color coding.

I tried. I set aside a morning to plan my week. I tried to figure out how best my planner would work for me. I didn’t try to be too ambitious. I had a minor to-do list and a week to get it done. And then I set the planner aside and did whatever the hell I felt like. My to-do list didn’t get done, things meant to be done on Monday were moved to Tuesday, then Wednesday, then not moved at all because I stopped dealing with the blasted planner.

“But it’s life-changing,” my addicted friends would chant glassy-eyed, all high on marker fumes and washi tape. “Just give it a chance, you’ll love it! You won’t be able to live without it! You’ll be as addicted to planning things as the rest of us!”

So I tried again. I sat down, planned things. I tried to be less ambitious with my planning, instead taking the proverbial baby steps to a better, more productive life. And then I set the planner aside and didn’t bother to look at it until I remembered I wrote a doctor’s appointment down in there that I hadn’t put in my phone.

I should really give the life planner another chance, I thought as I put it back down on my desk.

But I didn’t.

It’s now at the bottom of a stack of other things on my desk.

I knew this would happen. This isn’t the first time I got lured by the siren song of planners and their promise of a more productive life. I’ve never managed to get through a full year with any of them. Having a more expensive one in which I am supposed to spend time putting stickers on different days while color coding family events wasn’t going to miraculously change things.

Have I learned my lesson then? Of course not. But maybe next time, instead of getting lured in by the most expensive, I’ll try to use the one I already have. I mean, there are still 13 more months left in the bloody thing, 13 more months where I can either finally learn to use this life planner, or let it keep being the base of my pile of other notebooks. Place your bets on which is more likely to happen.

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